Why You Should Only Show Your Best Photos

"The Peephole" – Santa Monica

Legandary fashion photographer Helmut Newton once said, “The first 10,000 shots are the worst.” When it comes to street photography in the digital age, I would say your first 100,000 shots are your worst.

Living in a digital age, we can take practically unlimited photos with no downsides. With a 1TB drive looming at the $70 price range, there is no reason you should ever restrict yourself from taking massive amounts of photos (let alone delete them). I shoot RAW on my Canon 5D and I can still take nearly 1000 photos on my 16GB CF card (which is only about $33 on Amazon now).

I always make it a point to beginners in street photography to take as many photos as you can. Take photos of anything that interests you, and don’t hold back. Sometimes it is the most unexpected photos that we take that end up being our best shots. However there is a problem that many street photographers face is that we aren’t selective enough in showing our work. We show all of our work, instead of only our best work.

"The Mime at St. Pancras" – London, UK

So what constitutes your best work? I think it varies incredibly for different people. However, being extremely picky with what you show others is a skill everybody can improve. In my experiences, after an entire day of shooting– even having 1 or 2 “keepers” is a good rate. Ansel Adams took this even further and stated, “ Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.”

Assuming that you are taking photos everyday, you should be able to share at least one of your best photos everyday. However there are certain points when you are going to have “dry spells” and you feel that your photos aren’t just up to par to your other work. Don’t worry–this happens to everybody (including myself). If this happens to you, try to experiment by either using different cameras, lenses, or my favorite — getting closer to people.

"Hustling" – Chicago

In a great article by Nick Turpin titled, “Edit Edit Edit” he mirrors my sentiment and states, “Instead of editing a days shooting and posting your best image of the day…..edit your years shooting and post your best ten images of the year….now that will be a set worth looking at.” There is definitely a ton of great wisdom to take away from his point.

When people stumble upon your portfolio, they rarely look past the first few images or even past the first page. Therefore make it a point to keep your portfolio as tight and well-curated as possible. It definitely is true that first impressions do count, and people do judge books by their covers.

How do you guys feel? Do you like posting up your work everyday, or less frequently? We would love to hear your feedback!